The seclusion and sublime tranquility of the Llyn have brought visitors to reverence since the Middle Ages, when holy men made pilgrimages across it on their way to Bardsey Island, just off the western tip of the peninsula. Today, sun worshippers make the pilgrimage to the endless beaches that line the southern coast. Porthmadog, on the southeastern part of the peninsula, is the main gateway. This travel hub’s principal attraction is the charming Ffestiniog Railway (516 073; call for hours.), which runs from Harbour Station on High St. into the hills of Snowdonia (l‘ihr. 2-10 per day, round-trip £14). Trains run from Aberystwyth (l%-2hr. 3-7 per day). TrawsCambria bus #701 travels once a day to Aberystwyth (2hr.) and Cardiff (7hr.). Express Motors bus #1 stops in Porthmadog on its way from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Caernarfon (M-Sa every hr. until 10:25pm). The tourist office is on High St. by the harbor. (512 981. Open Easter-Oct. daily 10am-6pm; Nov.-Easter 10am-5pm.) The birthplace of Lawrence of Arabia is now the huge and comfortable Snowdon Backpackers Hostel , complete with a cafe, a kitchen, and a bar. ( 515 354. Dorms £12-13; doubles £29-33.) Postal Code: LL49 9AD.
Majestic and fervently Welsh, the walled city of Caernarfon (car-NAR-von) has a world-famous castle at its prow and mountains in its wake. Built by Edward
I beginning in 1283, the DICaernarfon Castle was left unfinished when Eddie ran out of money, yet it is still an architectural feat. (677 617. Open June-Sept. daily 9:30am-6pm; Apr.-May and Oct. 9:30am-5pm; Nov.-Mar. M-Sa 9:30am-4pm, Su llam-4pm. £4.50, students £3.50.) Arriva Cymru buses #5 and 5x arrive from Conwy ((08706) 082 608; IMhr. 1-3 per hr.). TrawsCambria bus #701 arrives daily from Cardiff (7V&hr.). National Express bus #545 arrives daily from London ( (08705) 808 080; 9hr, daily). The tourist office is on Castle St. ( 672 232. Open Apr.-Oct. daily 9:30am-5:30pm; Nov.-Mar. Th-Tu 9:30am-4:30pm.) GlTot-ter’s Hostel 0, 2 High St. has huge rooms, free bikes, a comfortable living room, and a full kitchen. (672 963. Dorms £11.) Hole-in-the-Wall Street offers a tremendous collection of bistros, cafes, and restaurants from which to choose. Try the Welsh lamb (£11) at Stones Bistro , 4 Hole-in-the-Wall St. a crowded, candle-lit eatery near Eastgate. (Open Tu-Sa 6-llpm.) Postal Code: LL55 2ND.
The central attraction of this tourist mecca is the 13th-century UConwy Castle, another link in Edward I’s chain of impressive North Wales fortresses. (Open June-Sept. daily 9:30am-6pm; Apr.-May and Oct. 9:30am-5pm; Nov.-Mar. M-Sa 9:30am-4pm, Su llam-4pm. £3.50, students £3. Tours £1.) Arriva Cymru buses #5 and 5X stop in Conwy on their way to Caernarfon from Bangor ( (08706) 082 608; 1-2 per hr.). National Express buses (s (08705) 808 080) arrive from: Liverpool (2%hr. daily); Manchester (4hr. daily); and Newcastle (10hr. daily). The tourist office is at the castle entrance. (592 248. Open Easter-Oct. daily 9:30am-6pm; Nov.-Easter Th-Sa 10am-4pm.) For a good night’s sleep, try the HSwan Cottage ,
18 Berry St. Tucked into an old 16th-century building near the center of town, this cottage has cozy rooms and timber ceilings. ( 596 840. Singles £17; doubles £34.) Bistro Conwy serves truly inspired Welsh fare on humble wooden plates. (596 326. Lunch £5-9. Dinner £13. Open Su-M ll:30am-2pm, Tu-Th ll:30am-2pm and 7-9pm, F-Sa ll:30am-2pm and 7-9:30pm.) Postal Code: LL32 8DA.